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  • #2194216

    Random Thoughts


    by acohen843 ·

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    • #3112073

      Geo UV Contest

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Are you a talented artist who knows how to use a texture mapper and paint software to paint 3D objects?
      Are you proud of your work?
      Do you enjoy displaying your talents to others?

      Take part in the Geo UV Maya Plug-in Texture Mapping Contest.
      You will use our Geo UV Maya Plug-in texture mapper to paint one of
      five models created by a very talented artist named Matt Coccoli. (All
      models are published with permission of the artist, Matt Coccoli. Matt
      Coccoli is the sole owner of the copyrights of these models.) Select any one of the following models.

      Send us your portfolio or a PDF document of your best work. If we like what we see, we’ll invite you to be part of our contest.

      What’s a Contest Without Prizes

      believe quality work should be rewarded! Each winner will receive a
      copy of Geo UV Maya Plug-in. But since the people at Geometric
      Informatics are really nice, we are going to award a few more prizes.
      In addition to Geo UV:

      • The first place winner will also receive a Wacom Graphic (6×8) USB Tablet.
      • The second place winner will receive the 2 book set Digital Texturing & Mapping by Owen Demers and Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn.
      • The third place winner will receive the book Facial Modeling and Animation Done Right by Jason Osipa..
      • The fourth and fifth place winners will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to

      The people at Geometric Informatics are really nice. Don’t believe me?

      If you’re a student and you win, I’m sure you have a favorite teacher
      that helped refine your talent. (I know you were really talented before
      going to school but I’m sure one of your teachers taught you a few
      useful things.) Send us your teacher’s school email address and if you
      win, we’ll send them a $25.00 gift certificate from Already out of school? Say thank you to a former
      professor or a person who has really influenced your career. Send us
      their email address and if you win, we’ll send them a $25.00 gift
      certificate from

      Meet Our Judges

      John Edgar Park – John is the author of Understanding Maya.
      From the back cover of his book,

      “John Edgar Park is a Character Technical Director at Walt Disney
      Feature Animation. He has worked as a digital trainer at Sony Picture
      Imageworks, has led professional courses for the Motion Picture Screen
      Cartoonists Union, and has worked in the video game industry as a 3D

      Dale Royer – Dale is the developer of the Geo UV Maya Plug-in.

      We respect talent. We’ll do what we can to display the talents of our contestants!

      like giving out prizes but we also want to display your work. Our site
      will feature the works of the winners. But just because you didn’t win
      doesn’t mean you are not talented. We’ll even display the best works of
      the other contestants on our site. We’ll even include a brief bio about
      you. We might even use your work in our advertisements.

      We Care About What You Think!

      We know you can help us make our product better and more useful. In
      addition to awarding prizes for quality artwork, we will also award a
      copy of Geo UV Maya Plug-in to the three contestants who provide us the
      best product feedback.

      What are you waiting for?

      Send us link to or a PDF of your portfolio. We look forward to seeing your work.

    • #3112026

      Geometric Informatics

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      It’s not often that I write about a company I am working for or about their products. Quite simply, most of the time a job is a job and I rarely get excited about their products.

      However, Geometric Informatics is different. They are a small company that creates interesting products based on conformal geometry. (I took the same geometry course twice in high school so you’ll probably want to visit the Geometric Informatics web site for a better idea about this exciting area of math.)

      Although I flunked geometry twice, I do know that this company makes interesting products.

      Geo UV is a texture mapper. This is a program that creates a 2D map from a 3D object. This allows an artisit, animator, or game designer to easily paint the 3D object.

      Geo UV benefits the artist by creating more precise maps with greater detail quickly. This is great for independent artists, freelancers, design firms, and others that appreciate creating quality work more efficiently.

    • #3111004

      The Englishes

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      English is the world’s international language. It is the international language for pilots and flight control centers. It is the international language for business. It is the most predominant language on the Internet. To be more specific, it is American English that is the world’s international English. It is American English that is the international language for pilots and flight control centers. It is American English that is the predominant language on the Internet, and it is American English that is the international language for business.

      American English? Isn’t English English?

      There are many types of English. I believe the most popular are: American English, Australian English, British English, and Canadian English. Certainly, one can understand each type. However, certainly idioms (expressions, sayings) may be confusing, and certainly certain words have different meanings within the different Englishes. Pronunciations and spellings also differ.

      British English

      British and American English differences are common in multi-cultural workplaces. Many countries learn British English in schools as opposed to American English. India’s long relationship with Britain and other former British colonies is another reason why British English is quite common.

      Spelling differs between these two versions. The most common difference – American spelling uses z in places where the British use s. The following table lists some examples.

      American Spelling British Spelling
      analyze analyse
      generalize generalise
      organization organisation
      prioritization prioritisation
      recognize recognise

      There are other differences. The following pages from Wikipedia list some of the important differences:

      Canadian English

      Canadian English is a nice mixture of British English, American English, some French, and like all languages, includes some unique words of its own. Canadian spellings are derived from a combination of the French and British influences. The following table lists some of these.

      American Spelling
      British Spelling

      Wikipedia’s Canadian English provides a wonderful introduction to the specifics of Canadian English.

      To wet your appetite, here are some Candian words or expressions found in the above-referenced Wikipedia article:

      • garburator – garbage disposal unit
      • Kraft dinner – Kraft Macaroni and Cheese
      • whitener – powdered, non-dairy additive for coffee and tea

      Australian English

      I love Australian English. Some of their phrases and expressions are so beautiful. The Wikipedia Australian English article provides an introduction to this variation of English. From this Website,

      “The much-quoted line ‘
      Throw another shrimp on the barbie
      ‘ was a phrase that has never been used by Australians, but was an American invention for use in a US advertisement for tourism to Australia.
      Shrimp‘ is an international English term ? they are called prawns in Australia.”

      Australian English is a mixture of British and American English, some Irish influence, and a strong influence of New Zealand English.

      Which English Do You Speak?

      According to the Wikipedia article about English , there are 45 English dialects. The following table lists these dialects.


      British Isles

      British English

      English English

      Highland English

      Mid Ulster English

      Scottish English

      Welsh English

      Manx English

      Irish English

      United States
      African American Vernacular English

      American English

      Appalachian English


      Boston English

      California English

      General American

      North Central American English

      Hawaiian English

      Southern American English


      Chicano English

      Canadian English

      Newfoundland English

      Quebec English

      Australian English

      New Zealand English


      Hong Kong English

      Indian English

      Malaysian English

      Philippine English

      Singaporean English

      Sri Lankan English

      Other Countries
      Bermudian English

      Caribbean English

      Jamaican English

      Liberian English

      Malawian English

      South African English


      Basic English

      Commonwealth English


      International English

      Plain English

      Simplified English

      Special English

      Standard English

    • #3111005

      Email is Cultural

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Email is cultural! Who would think that such a ubiquitous tool would be cultural and have to make us think before we write!

      Email is very cultural in relation to the address list. For example, in the United States an email may address an employee concern and sent to all employees. In some cultures, this is heresy. You address personal issues in a personal manner. That email is sent only to those people it applies to.

      The chain of command is also important. In some cultures if the email is between two managers, you never send that email to other managers (especially higher-level managers).

      I follow a few, simple rules when sending email.

      1. Review what you write. Make sure its says what you really mean to say.
      2. Be careful with humor. Jokes don’t always work when written.
      3. Word choice is important. Many English words have more than one meaning. This is especially important if your email’s readers are from other countries. Make sure your words mean what you really mean to say.
      4. Proofread. Think before you click the send button.
      5. Never write anything in an email that you don’t want the whole world to read. Once you send an email, anyone of the email’s recipients can forward that email to anyone. It may not be polite or proper, but it does happen.

    • #3111006

      American Writing

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Americans are proud of their language and rightfully so. Language defines our culture. I am a strong believer that language defines the way its speakers view and think about their world.

      American English is a written and oral portrait of America. For example:

      • American English is a mixture of words from many countries and cultures. America is a mixture of people from many countries and cultures.
      • Americans tend to be casual; formalities are often optional. American English, in terms of grammar is casual. Remember French, Spanish, Latin? Words have different forms whether they are feminine or masculine. Many languages have two forms of the word you – one form is formal and the other is casual. American English does not have these restrictions. (English once did. Like Latin, English had different endings for each word depending on its use. It had one ending if it was the subject of the sentence, another ending if it was the direct object, and so on. Gender also played a role. We see this in our third person pronouns – he, she, him, her.)

      Languages are living entities; they are forever changing. However, how they change is the responsibility of its speakers.

      Grammar and the rules of American English are important. Certainly we all don’t need to be able to identify every aspect of grammar for every form of communication, but we all need to understand enough grammar to communicate in an effective and understandable manner. Poor writing, poor use of grammar, and poor choice of words affect the way people view us. When someone doesn’t speak properly, we think they are uneducated.

      Thank you Dave for sharing this link with me. It is an interesting article about one person’s thoughts concerning the way Americans write – Literacy Limps into the Kill Zone .

    • #3110997

      Crazy English

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      English is a crazy language. It’s true! For example:

      • I play today.
      • I played yesterday.
      • I eat today.
      • I ate yesterday. (Why not I eated yesterday?)

      Sometimes humor is a great way to learn about American English. Thanks Dave for sending me the following email about American English.

      Note: Dave received this email from someone else. While I’m sure he’d like to be the author of this witty look at American English, he is just as happy being a reader, like you and I.

      “Can you read these right the first time?

      1) The bandage was


      around the


      2) The farm was used to

      produce produce


      3) The dump was so full that it had to





      4) We must





      5) He could


      if he would get the


      6) The soldier decided to


      his dessert in the


      7) Since there is no time like the


      , he thought it was time to




      8) A


      was painted on the head of the



      9) When shot at, the

      dove dove

      into the bushes.

      10) I did not


      to the


      11) The insurance was


      for the


      12) There was a


      among the oarsmen about how to



      13) They were too


      to the door to



      14) The buck


      funny things when the


      are present.

      15) A seamstress and a


      fell down into a



      16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his




      17) The


      was too strong to


      the sail.

      18) Upon seeing the


      in the painting I shed a


      19) I had to




      to a series of tests.

      20) How can I


      this to my most



      Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in
      . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from
      nor is it a pig.

      And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the pl ural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

      If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

      How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

      English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

      PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’

    • #3110998

      Languageisms 1

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Learning a foreign language is a great way to learn more about your own language. The grammar of your own language becomes more visible as you compare and contrast it against the grammar of the language that you are learning.

      This approach also works well when communicating with people from other cultures. You don’t need to learn the other language, but learn an overview of their language. For example, the French place adjectives after the noun they modify, while English does the opposite: they place the adjective before the noun it modifies.

      Confusion arises between speakers of different languages when either the grammar is different (previous example) or when a grammatical construct does not exist in one of the languages. For example, when I teach English as a Second Language, the present continuous tense is often and commonly misused.

      What is the present continuous tense? The present continuous tense describes action that is happening now, ongoing action. Here are some examples:

      • I am eating.
      • You are drinking coffee.
      • They are studying.

      Not all languages have a present continuous tense. They use the simple present tense and the difference in meaning is determined through context.

      • I eat.
      • You drink coffee.
      • They study.

      Languages and cultural communication are interesting. At times it can be frustrating. Keep in mind that communication is not always simple. The misunderstandings are not your fault and are not their fault. It is just the differences between the two languages.

    • #3110999

      Which English?

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Which English do you speak? Which English do you write? Is it American English? British English?

      Do you need information to properly correspond with a British company? Canadian company? Business today requires a solid understanding of cultural communication.

      My friend Dave has found a site that acts as a portal to all sites English. It is appropriately called, “The English “. It contains a wealth of links that provide useful information: Some of the available information includes:

      • American English Language
      • Business English Australia
      • English Language Arabic Translation
      • English Language Game, and
      • English Language Learner

      Each site consists of a Web page of links. The links on the translation pages, for example, English Langauge Arabic Translation, are useful. If your documentation, marketing literature, or other printed communication needs translation, find a local source. Translation is not a word for word substitution. There are idioms, local expressions, and local ways of saying things. Even if you are translating from one English to another, check with a local source.

    • #3111000

      Trade Names

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Trade names are legal entities. Americans tend to use trade names in a casual manner. This may be fine in casual conversation, but be careful when writing for both an international audience or an American audience. For example, people often use google as a verb. This is fine in casual conversation but not appropriate for professional communications. Here is an example:

      • Google the term object-oriented programming for more information.

      It is better to write this as:

      • Enter object-oriented programming in a search engine to find more information.

      Not all trade names are international. Often a trade name becomes so popular that people use it incorrectly when referring to a generic brand. However, a trade name is a legal entity. For example, many people order a Coke when they are in a restaurant. Coke is a trade name of the Coka Cola company. Unless you specifically want that brand, you should say a cola drink which could mean Pepsi or any generic brand. Coka Cola won a lawsuit about this issue. That is why when you ask for a Coke, a waitress may ask if Pepsi or some other brand of cola is fine.

      The following list includes some popularly used brand names and the equivalent generic term. This list is from the book The Elements of Technical Writing by Gary Black & Robert W. Bly (ISBN: 0-02-013085-6), pages 57-59.

      • Band-Aid – bandage
      • Bufferin – buffered aspirin
      • Highligher – yellow marking pen
      • Liquid Paper – correction fluid
      • Magic Marker – permanent marker
      • Ping-Pong – table tennis
      • Plexiglas clear – acrylic plastic
      • Realtor – real-estate agent
      • Scotch – Tape clear tape
      • Styrofoam – extruded plastic
      • Sweet ‘n Low – sugar substitute
      • Tabasco – red-pepper sauce
      • Valium – muscle relaxer
      • Vaseline – petroleum jelly
      • Velcro – fabric fastener
      • Windbreaker – waterproof jacket
      • Wite-Out – correction fluid
      • Xerox – photocopy

    • #3111001

      The Story of the Colonel

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      English is a crazy language. It?s that simple. Ask any English teacher and ask any person whose second language is English. The language makes no sense. English is a grammar and language defined by chaos.

      Why is English so crazy? Why do some verbs use ?ed? to form the past tense but sing becomes sang when used to describe a past event? Why do tough, through, though, and thought all contain the ough letter sequence, but each are pronounced differently?

      There are not answers for all of the inconsistencies in English, but there are some logical explanations for some of the crazy aspects of this language. Here is an example.

      The word colonel is interesting. It has a weird spelling considering its pronunciation is similar to ?cernel?. So why would a word with an l and no r be pronounced with an r sound?

      ?The word come from the Old French coronelle, which the French adapted from the Italian colonello (from which we get colonnade). When the word first came into English in the mid-sixteenth century, it was spelled with an r, but gradually the Italian spelling and pronunciation began to challenge it. For a century or more both spellings and pronunciations were commonly used, until finally with inimitable illogic we settled on the French pronunciation and the Italian spelling.? ? The Mother Tongue ? English & How It Got That Way, Bill Brysen, ISBN: 0-380-71543-0, pages 122-23.

    • #3111002

      “One” and “Once” and for all

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      There is a similar issue with the words, ?one? and ?once?. In terms of phonetics, there could be better spellings for these words. Once again, some strange logic became part of the English language.

      ?Similarly, if you?ve ever wondered how on earth a word spelled one could be pronounced ?wun? and once spelled ?wunce?, the answer in both cases is that Southern (England) pronunciations attached themselves to East Midland spellings. Once they were pronounced more or less as spelled ? i.e., ?oon? and ?oons?.? ? The Mother Tongue ? English & How It Got That Way, Bill Brysen, ISBN: 0-380-71543-0, page 124.

    • #3111003

      English’s Debt to Latin Make Spelling Doubtful

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Latin strongly influences English. Latin grammar is the grammar of English. This is ridiculous. Latin is a Romance language. French, Spanish, and Italian are Romance languages. English is a Germanic language. However, we have to live with this
      forced fit

      Latin not only makes English grammar confusing, but also adds to the already weird English spellings. The words debt and doubt are perfect examples.

      ?When in the seventeenth century the English developed a passion for the classical languages, certain well-meaning meddlers began fiddling with the spellings of many other words in an effort to make them conform to a Latin ideal. Thus b?s were inserted into debt and doubt, which had previously been spelled dette and doute, out of deference to the Latin originals, debitum and dubitare.

      These are some of the reasons that make English a very crazy language. Don?t feel bad if something makes no sense. It?s just English!

    • #3110994

      Pro or Con?

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      If pro is better than con, is progress better than congress?

    • #3110995

      When is a gift of coffee a bad idea?

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      Recently, I was at a company where we had a “Secret Santa”. Everyone picked a name and bought that person a gift. My coworker didn’t know what to get the person he chose. We knew that person loved coffee so we suggested he buy him some packages of coffee beans. He did.

      We all thought that this was a good idea. However, culturalisms have ways to make life interesting.

      The coworker who received the coffee is from Albania. We later learned that coffee is the traditional gift that Albanians receive when someone dies.

      Good intentions, unexpected results.

    • #3110996

      Blog Update

      by acohen843 ·

      In reply to Random Thoughts

      New entries are coming soon. Since the last post, I've started a new job and relocated. However, I plan to dedicate time to keep this blog running. I believe that it is useful.


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